CHRISTMAS PRESENT IDEA!
Looking for a different stocking filler this year? Why not buy Rugeley: 150 years of a country town? This book, available from local outlets including the Rugeley Library, is yours for only £7 and was written by Ernest Toye - former teacher at Rugeley Grammer School. For more information on this book please contact the Landor Society on 01889 582709.
The History of the Towns annual event, the Charter Fair dates back to the 1700s.
Rugeley was granted a Charter which gave the right to hold a fair on the Vigil, Feast and Morrow of St Augustine of Canterbury, between the 25-27 May.
From 1980-1982 the Rugeley Festival Week was run by the Rugeley Chamber of Commerce and for the next 10 years the Rugeley festival was organised by an Independent Committee.
However, in 1752 the date of the Charter changed to the beginning of June due to the ‘loss’ of 11 days following the change of the calendar.
The fair gradually developed into a horse fair and then a pleasure fair. In 1851 the fair was described as ‘a very large fair for colts and horses, chiefly of superior breeds’. The fair was originally held in Horse Fair, with it spreading down Brook Street and Market Place. Gradually the horse fair ended due to the increasing popularity of cars, the last horse fair was held in 1932 but the pleasure fair still continued.
As part of the Festival of Britain in 1951 the British Legion organised a Carnival Week to raise funds for a headquarters building, this took place in June and became an annual event until 1956.
In 1969 The Round Table used the date to run a Donkey Derby to raise money for charity. This developed into the ‘Round Table Event’ throughout the 1970’s.
The absence of new volunteers meant the demise of the Festival. To prevent Rugeley losing it’s annual event Rugeley Town Council took over and organised the first ‘Charter Fair’ in 1996 continuing the traditions of a carnival procession and a great day for the Town of Rugeley.
Throughout all these years the only consistent aspect was the Pleasure Fair.
Twinning - in the latter half of the 1950's, Rugeley participated in a programme that brought together like communities from around the world in an effort to strengthen international peace and understanding. Through this programme, Rugeley was twinned with the community of Western Springs Illinois.
Rugeley and Western Springs are of a similar size and about as far from Chicago as Rugeley is from Englands second largest city - Birmingham. Western Springs Road was named after the town across the Atlantic.
To learn more about Western Springs, Illinois, please visit the Western Springs website.